The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

2003.11.12 Paying a visit to the family character

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

By the time you read this, I should be on my way back from a short vacation in Missouri. It’s an odd time for a vacation, I suppose, but I had a good reason for going in November. I went to help my Aunt Sue celebrate her 97th birthday.

It’s kind of hard to put 97 years into any kind of perspective. After all, Aunt Sue’s seen Halley’s comet—twice. Even stranger, she’s a huge Chicago Cubs fan and one of the few who was alive in 1908 when the Cubs last won the World Series. Since she was too young at the time to remember that (this was before radio, much less television), she was hoping they would win it this year, but no such luck.

I guess most families have a family “character” and Aunt Sue certainly qualifies as ours. She grew up in a small town in southwest Missouri. The local school only had eight grades at the time, so after graduation at age 14, Aunt Sue moved to St. Louis to be governess for a family’s children.

The job wasn’t exactly as advertised. The family pretty much expected her to be an all-around servant to them all instead of just looking after the children. Aunt Sue went out and found another job, got a room at a boarding house, and at 14 was on her own in the big city. That probably wasn’t too common in 1920.

Her youngest sister, Liz, joined her in the 1940s and a third, Bernie, in the late 1960s. It was always fun to visit the three never-married sisters, but a little spooky, too, because Aunt Sue was almost a twin to my mother. Aunt Sue had a bit more gray hair, being eight years older, but that was about the only difference.

Aunt Sue came and stayed with us for about six months during my mother’s terminal illness in 1979. It was during this time that I was considering the purchase of my first new car. One weekend, I mentioned that I had the search narrowed down to three cars, a Ford Mustang and two Mercury Capris. Aunt Sue immediately said I should take her to look at the cars.

None of my aunts (nor my mother, for that matter) had ever driven a car, but who am I to tell a non-driving 72-year-old no? That weekend, we were off to the car dealerships where Aunt Sue studied the cars every bit as closely as I had. I asked if the bucket seats all three cars featured would bother her, but she said her last boss before she retired sometimes gave her a ride home and his car had buckets so that wasn’t a problem.

Her only major comment was that one of the Capris was bright red and I’d just be asking for speeding tickets if I bought it. I ended up buying the Mustang, which was a jade green color she liked. She did say after riding in it that the upholstery would be better suited for a house of ill repute. Actually, “house of ill repute” wasn’t her exact phrase, but use your imagination.

The last few years haven’t been very kind to her. She’s had back and hearing problems, and it was always Aunt Liz’s duty to keep her from overexerting herself with yardwork. After several years of failing health, Aunt Bernie passed away in May of 2002. Then, last February, Aunt Liz was killed while crossing the street on her way to the bus stop.

Suddenly, Aunt Sue is on her own again for the first time in over 50 years. But she has plenty of support. My niece, who works with the hearing impaired, came for a visit and took her for a battery of hearing tests. The result was the discovery of a hearing aid that allows her to use the phone again, something she hadn’t done in several years.

The next-door neighbors check in on her every day (unless she checks on them first) and take her grocery shopping. She has a woman stop in once a week to do the laundry and help her clean the house. My sister and brother-in-law drive over from Kansas City regularly to visit and Aunt Sue usually has a list of chores for Gary to help with.

Each time I call her, she sounds a little spunkier and it’s pretty neat to hear her gaining confidence in living alone again. She’s even discussed how she’d like to celebrate her 100th birthday, so we’re all planning on being there for it. That gives the Chicago Cubs at least three more chances to make her happy and win the World Series, although it’s more likely she’ll see Halley’s Comet again before she sees a Cubs Series win.

     – Nov. 12, 2003

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